|My main activity while traveling, at least when I'm traveling alone, is walking, in most cases with no particular destination in mind. This was the case the other day when I had some time to kill in New York City. The weather was blustery but I wasn't to be deterred. I took the subway into Manhattan and headed south. (I've pretty much explored midtown and the Central Park area in previous visits.)
I walked and walked, seeing things that I had heard so much about: NYU, "SoHo", "Artists' Lofts", etc. I was shooting* to get to the shore of the island to see what I could see. My feet took me to Hudson River Park(?) where I got a view of the Statue of Liberty* and New Jersey*. When it was time to start heading back, I stumbled upon what is now my favorite memorial ever: the Irish Hunger Memorial. It is like a little bit of the country right in downtown New York, with some of the greatest stone walls ever. The serendipitous find reaffirmed in my believe in semi-unguided travel.
|Saturday November 1 2008||File under: travel|
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|Just a quickie this Friday because I spent the week working and travelling rather than poking at my computer's drawing program. I'm actually kind of proud at how quickly I whipped this one out (although the pride quickly subsides when the comic is actually read).
Anyway, I wanted an excuse to say Happy Halloween to everyone and encourage everyone who chooses to dress up to be sure and get a picture of themselves doing so. Seeing other people's costumes, esp. homemade and clever ones*, are what make this holiday fun now that the man says we pseudo-adults can't go around getting all sorts of free candy and what-not.
|Friday October 31 2008||File under: comic|
|Last time I was through NYC, everything fell into place–weather, meeting with friends (, meeting with strangers), etc.–everything that is except one thing: seeing a Broadway show. This time, while the weather has been against me and tracking people down for getting together has panned out less smoothly* (not to mention no fun strangers -> friends), I did make it to a Broadway show.
Avenue Q is hilarious romp, once described as Sesame Street meets South Park. A combination human/puppet cast lends the musical a playful feel. And although the set, costumes, production wasn't as spectacular as I had imagined*, the experience was extremely fun. While I wouldn't consider myself a great fan of musicals, the songs in this one were funny enough, tongue-in-cheek enough to make it really fun. (In fact, do yourself a favor: go search google for "Avenue Q The Internet is Really Really Great" and watch a video that ensues.)
Yep, a Broadway show: another thing checked off my life list.
|Wednesday October 29 2008||File under: travel, misc|
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|Boardwalks are awesome. This is my conclusion after visiting two of them this weekend. The first was in Ocean City, MD which was all but deserted when we tromped its 1.7 miles past block after block of shuttered up t-shirt shops and ice cream parlors*. We had to use our imaginations to picture it in all its glory filled to the brim with sun-burnt tourists, but I could imagine it is quite a scene during the summer. The second boardwalk is possibly the most famous boardwalk of all times: Atlantic City (as seen in the pictures*.) Similar to Ocean City in it being a pedestrian only thoroughfare with the beach on one side and shops, etc. on the other, but different. People were everywhere on this boardwalk, even so late in the season. Lots of old folks out walking and sitting on the benches. Casino architecture to entertain the eye. Beautiful dunes between the walk and the beach. Both are great places to people watch, walk off an ice cream or two, and be part of the goings-on of a town.
The concept of designating a place for people to walk around semi-aimlessly, interact, shop, eat, and pass time is the reason I am so enthralled with boardwalks. The pedestrian advocate in me (both as a means of exercise and of transportation) loves to see people out walking. The lazy bum in me loves to see benches for just lazing about in the sun and watching the world pass by. If it weren't for all the shops selling totally useless crap*, I would be *all* about boardwalks. As it is, I still think they are neat.
|Tuesday October 28 2008||File under: travel|
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|If you ever have some time to kill in D.C. after having done all the much touted stuff* (or even before that), I would highly recommend looking into taking a nice walk [up/down] Embassy Row, essentially Massachusetts Avenue between Dupont Circle and Sheriden Circle. In the few days that I've been in D.C., I've gone out of my way multiple times to pass that way and am so glad that I've done so each time.
Seeing the beautiful buildings and their accompanying plaques announcing which country's embassy it is sets my mind going. I find it so interesting to compare the personality of the place (size, ornamentation, security, vehicles*, etc.) with what I know about the country. I wonder about what kind of business goes on in the building*. I wonder about the finances. Those buildings can't be cheap and a lot of those countries aren't known for their overflowing national coffers. I wonder if the people insider are from that country and what they think of the US. I wonder what would happen if I went trick-or-treating there on Halloween. I wonder if I will ever visit the particular country represented by this embassy. I wonder about all the unoccupied (sometimes obviously recently or hastily) buildings and what the story behind that is. I wonder a lot.
Even if you don't wonder or care about any of these things, it is still worth the walk. The rich architecture combined with the international flair is something that is miles away from most people's everyday experience. And that's what travel is all about, right?
|Saturday October 25 2008||File under: travel|
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|I don't seem to be able to go a day without hearing of the impending elections, try as I might. The majority of the coverage I hear isn't about how these 2 fellas are going to make things better, but more about how the other one is going to make things worse. Last week, I guess it was, something good came of all the bashing: this comic!
I tried a hand drawn copy of this first but it was bad–we're talking really bad. I guess this computer stuff is my medium and I just need to accept that. The inability to draw really kind of hinders the comic making process. The brute force method via a drawing program works, but by golly it takes a while. That's okay. You know what they say: time wasted having fun is not time wasted at all.
|Friday October 24 2008||File under: comic|
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|Generally, I'm not a fan of escalators. IMO, most times, they are merely an excuse for lazy people not to have to walk stairs. (The exceptions, of course, are accessibility, carrying stuff, incredible traffic volume, extreme distances, etc.) While seeing people indulge their laziness doesn't usually upset me*, seeing them do so at the expense of the environment does. (For a semi-rant, semi-informational article on the topic of energy consumption of escalators, click here).
But that's not what this post is about. It is about the freaking huge long escalators they have here in D.C. to get down into the metro and how awesome they are. When I visited D.C. in 8th grade, that is one of the few things that stuck with me: how long the escalators were. 15 years hasn't done anything to diminish the impressiveness. (As a side note, it is kind of fun to make the comparison between my impressions of this place then and now: the monuments, the museums, etc. I can for sure tell you that I feel like I am in a much better place to appreciate it all now*. The comparison continues tonite with a night tour of the monuments!)
Anyhoo, I took this shot coming out of the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro station coming back from having dinner out in Bethesda. It may not be the longest ever, but it sure seemed like it. (Wikipedia's Escalator Superlatives is kind of a fun read.)
|Wednesday October 22 2008||File under: travel|
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|Monday October 20 2008||File under: travel, pics|
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|I'm currently camped out in the back of a FedEx/Kinko's in Washington, D.C. for the second morning in a row, using their [reasonable priced, but not free] internet. I don't suppose that I can rightly say that I am on vacation when I've been checking in with work and logging in to fix bugs every day since I've left, but that's okay. In fact, while there is definitely a downside to it, being the optimistic guy that I am, I see a side to the working vacation that I kind of like. Let me highlight a few.
1. When I am able to work from the road, I don't need to let what's going on with work affect my travel schedule. As long as wherever I am going has an internet connection, I can always carve out a couple of hours from sightseeing or napping to do a little work.
2. It lends some structure to my day, which I generally am in need of. If I didn't have to at least check in with work, I might lounge in bed until 11:00 or keep coming up with excuses on why not to change out of my jammies and leave the house.
3. Doing even just a little bit of work in a day lets me feel like I've accomplished something and that I've earned the 2 ice cream cones that I'm bound to eat in my daily roamings.
4. Being a contractor, logging a couple of hours also means that I've earned enough money to pay for those 2 ice cream cones, so I don't need to carve away at my savings too much while traveling.
5. Daily (or almost daily) exposure to work reminds me why vacation is so important, so when I logoff, I can more fully appreciate where I am and what I am choosing to do.
6. When my co-workers/bosses/project managers know that I am taking time out of my vacation to get done what needs to get done, they really appreciate it, and feeling appreciated is a good feeling.
I imagine the novelty will wear off soon and I will start griping about having to check in with work. But luckily, the busy time at work will also start to taper off, so it'll all balance out. Then I will have to come up with another excuse to get my daily computer fix. *cough*nerd*cough*
|Friday October 17 2008||File under: work, travel|
If I had been thinking, I would have staged all photos the same. As it was, I was thinking it would only be that first one (which I really like). But then more hair started coming off and looked pretty ridiculous, so I had to take further pictures still. Anyway, since I can't take a beard picture that I don't post, here they are. (Maybe someday I will outgrow this childishness, but I doubt it.)
(Oh, and for those composing their Hitler themed comments, I'll pre-emptively* point out that many famous people sported the toothbrush mustache, both before and after Hitler gave it a bad name)
|Thursday October 16 2008||File under: beard|
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